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Adolf Hitler: a re-assessment of his personality status

  • Desmond Henry (a1), Dick Geary (a2) and Peter Tyrer (a3)

Abstract

Objective: The assessment of the personality status of Adolf Hitler using a structured interview schedule, the Personality Assessment Schedule, with two informants, one a psychiatrist with an interest in psychohistory and the other a historian with special knowledge of the Third Reich and Weimar Republic. Method: The Personality Assessment Schedule was given in two forms to the two informants at different times; on each occasion Hitler was assessed as he was in 1937. Results: There was considerable discrepancy between the ratings of the two informants, the historian recording less-personality disturbance in all areas of function, although correlations between the two sets of ratings were relatively high (R1 0.5-0.6), with rater bias accounting for the differences in severity. Both informants regarded Hitler as having a dissocial personality disorder (using the new ICD-10 criteria), but the psychiatrist's rating also scored the diagnosis of paranoid and histrionic personality disorders. Conclusions: Interview schedules which use informants to assess personality disorder can be of value in examining the personality status of historical figures.

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